Kmart is almost extinct. Now, nostalgic shoppers are sharing how much the store meant to them.
[Yahoo Life!, Getty]
As one of the last remaining Kmart stores prepares to close, nostalgic Kmart shoppers are taking to Twitter to share their favorite memories of shopping at the retail chain.
Only three brick and mortar Kmart stores remain in the U.S., located in Miami, Fla., Westwood, N.J. and Bridgehampton, N.Y., and news of the superstore chain becoming nearly extinct has prompted fans to share incredible memories and moments experienced in the store: ones that go far beyond typical shopping experiences.
Aaron Jones, who lives in Waco, Tex., tells Yahoo Life, “Kmart represents a time in my life I will always cherish.” For Jones, times spent at Kmart bring memories of quality time spent with his grandparents, both of whom have died.
“I grew up with my grandparents and they knew I loved pizza, books and video games,” he recalls. “So they’d take me to Kmart for lunch or dinner and reading books, or I’d go to the video game kiosks and play games while my grandparents shopped.”
In a tweet expressing his sadness about continued store closures, Jones shared, “some of my best moments in life were made at Kmart.” Still, Jones says he understands that times change.
And Jones isn’t the only Kmart fan to remember days shopping the fluorescent-lit aisles with a grandparent. Marlon Funes shares his “abuelita” took him to Kmart every week when he was growing up, something that has even deeper meaning to him now that he’s an adult.
“Every Sunday my grandma would take my two cousins and I to Kmart to get a G.I. Joe toy or any toy we wanted under $10 each,” says Funes. “Later I realized it was from her social security checks that barely covered her expenses.”
Even now, Funes, who lives in Los Angeles, Calif., says when he drives by where his local Kmart once stood, he still feels those same feelings of childhood happiness.
“Kmart will always be part of my childhood through some of my best core memories,” he shares. “My abuelita, Elena, passed away in 2019 at 89 years of age: She lived a happy life and even on her last days, when her mind was foggy, she remembered how much I loved to spend Sundays with her and how well I took care of my toys.”
Yahoo Life reached out to Transformco, the company that owns Kmart, for comment, but did not receive a response. Still, the store remains present on Twitter, commenting on the heartwarming posts shared by Kmart shoppers.
“That is so sweet,” reads a reply to one nostalgic tweet from the Kmart Twitter account, “we are glad to have been a part of your story.” In another, Kmart reminds a twitter user they’re still available for customers’ online shopping needs. “Don’t forget you can shop online with us 24/7 at Kmart.com,” the reply reads.
Were it not for a chance encounter at Kmart, Bear, Del. mom of three Jen Knight shares her entire life would be different.
Knight met her husband in 1992 while working at Kmart, and took to Twitter to share her own story of why she is “grateful” Kmart stores existed.
“We worked there together for about a year and a half I think,” says Knight. “It was a cool store 30 years ago. I worked in the cash cage and my future husband was a stock guy who then moved to sporting goods. We met there, dated there and even had our oldest while working there.”
“I love that Kmart is a part of our history,” she adds. “It is bittersweet because we probably wouldn’t have met if not for that.”
Nostalgia is a powerful and complex emotion that can cause us to feel a sweet sadness as we remember people, food and experiences that cannot be replicated from a time in our past. But can we feel nostalgia for a place of business or a national chain store? Jones says yes.
“I hear there are still three Kmarts left,” he shares. “I may actually plan a road trip soon and see if I can get one last slice of pizza.”
By Josie Maida